No persons to hear it
The poem is patting down the trees
to make sure they’re real
is bumping in darkness
like the otter exhibit at 3 am.
It is a maid sifting
thru the cold ash of an enlightenment.
The poem puts its hand on the neck
of the janitor and walks her
to the wrong floor, the fortieth floor,
and there is fear,
wrongdoing all around,
and talcum in the rug.
Not friends but guests it wants. Not space but time.
It canvasses sealed houses,
it hides from darkness in barns.
In the light or dark of knowledge
which like a drained reservoir
discloses and conceals,
the poem hops stump to stump
and counts the inches.
Its body sits in its soul like
a lentil in an arena
and there is laughter in the stands.
The poem is a crow in centurion’s armor—
it guards the emperor
in greaves of tin,
in a helmet of watermelon
so sweet and good that passersby lean in
and take it, and bite it to the rind.